Happy birthday! The cellphone is 40 years old today
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Happy birthday! The cellphone is 40 years old today

New York City : NY : USA | Apr 03, 2013 at 4:11 AM PDT
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Forty years ago, on April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper made the first ever cellphone call. At the time, he was working for Motorola and the call he made was to a rival colleague at another telecoms company.

Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, told his rival that he was speaking from "a 'real' cellular telephone." There are now across the world more than 6 billion cellphones, or mobile phones, as they call them outside of the US.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Mike Short CBE, Vice President of Telefonica Europe said: "In 40 years we've moved rapidly from the mobile phone as a businessman's tool, through consumerization and Internet access to everything being connected. In the future we will see a much wider range of devices—many of which will be wearable."

Short went on to talk about how cellphone technology will become more integrated with the human body, including the ability to be able to be controlled by the senses:

"We will work more fully with all the senses. The move to glasses has begun—how can we use eye control to change and look at pages? Wearables, in terms of smartphone watches, are coming. We'll also see health measurement body vests that can communicate with your phone and then your doctor."

Cooper is now 85 years old and is called the "father" of the cellphone. The first cellphones to hit the market, in 1983, were priced at a colossal $3,500. Cooper believed that the cost and the huge size of the phones would stop the them being further developed for the mass market. How wrong he was.

Cooper says: "We did envision that some day the phone would be so small that you could hang it on your ear or even have it embedded under your skin."

Martin Cooper had a vision that would see the phone begin to represent an individual, that the phone number would not be assigned to a place but to a person. That vision has become a reality with almost everyone in the West now identifiable as a number.

Happy 40th birthday, cellphone!

INVIGILATOR is based in Nottingham, England, United Kingdom, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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